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November 10, 2005

New "study" on the economic value of intellectual property

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There's a new paper out from a group called USA for Innovation on the economic value of intellectual property (PDF).

It's mostly a survey of other studies on the subject, and so doesn't really break much ground, other than an estimate by the authors of the value of intellectual property to the U.S. economy of between $5 and 5.5 trillion, an estimate somewhat higher than other estimates.

The authors do a poor job of actually documenting their estimates for the sake of those who want to understand them. Several times we are simply told that "we estimate" such and such. In an academic paper, it would be nice to see some methodology, some tables, some documentation.

And the paper is hideously typeset as well, for those who care about such things.

What IS interesting, however, begins on page 24, where the study criticizes the Bush administration record on enforcing intellectual property. I haven't actually seen this evidence of Bush administration failure on IP protection compiled in one place before.

Just sorta all goes along with an administration that has been oddly asleep at the switch on technology policy, as well as on international competitiveness issues. A disappointment.

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